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Racing: Punters plunge for a Song

MOUNTAIN SONG was sent off at the prohibitive odds of 1-20 at Ayr yesterday before duly winning the Arran Conditions Stakes with the minimum of fuss. But the very short price did not deter all backers.

Punters who laid out pounds 3,600 and pounds 4,200 respectively to win pounds 300 hardly suffered an anxious moment as Sir Mark Prescott's colt made all and coasted home by seven lengths from Jacmar.

The punter who put pounds 5,000 on Jackerin in the final race on the same card was better rewarded, however. He profited by pounds 30,000. Tony Culhane's mount was always travelling well in the Autumn Handicap and was one and a quarter lengths too good for High Carry at the line.

Strong Promise, runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, will not run this season. Geoff Hubbard's seven-year-old, beaten just one and threequarter lengths by Cool Dawn at Cheltenham, has had surgery to treat a "niggling problem".

Hubbard's assistant, Chris Kinane, said: "It is not career-threatening, only a hold-up, but he's still a young horse and that's one of the reasons he won't run."

Strong Promise ran just four times last year, finishing second at Ascot and at Wincanton. On his final start of the season he was a well-beaten third behind Opera Hat in the Mumm Melling Chase.